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When Royalty Met Entrepreneurs The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge meet some of the brightest minds of India in innovation

By Ritu Kochar

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At an event on Monday, the entrepreneurs in Mumbai had the opportunity to meet none other than the Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. A once in a lifetime opportunity for some of the brightest minds in innovation, the event was held at The Social, a collaborative workspace for entrepreneurs where the couple launched the Tech Rocketship Awards 2016-17 at a GREAT for Collaboration event for young entrepreneurs.

At the official launch of the Tech Rocketship awards, Kumar Iyer, British Deputy High Commissioner Mumbai and Director General of UK Trade and Investment in India said:

"We are delighted to have The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge launch the Tech Rocketship Awards today. We're looking for the next batch of leading Indian entrepreneurs that will probably change the world through their technology. Some of the young entrepreneurs Their Royal Highnesses met today already have some truly amazing innovations."

Now in its third year, the Tech Rocketship Awards – an initiative by UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) in India – provides top Indian start-ups with expert business advice and support from leading professional services companies in the UK.

The launch of the awards by Their Royal Highnesses was followed by a pitching session where four young entrepreneurs showcased their innovations to a panel comprised of business leaders and icons of the entrepreneurial world.

Prince William and Princess Kate went on to meet a couple of innovators and seemed quite impressed by the ideas, innovations and energy of all the young entrepreneurs they interacted with. Their first stop was Mukunda Foods where after meeting the co-founder and CEO Eshwar Vikas, Prince William went on to make a dosa. Prince William poured batter onto "a dosamatic machine" hot plate that makes pancakes, crepes, dosas and omelettes in just one minute. After the Duke of Cambridge took a bite, Vikas reportedly told the media, "The Duke told me he and the Duchess love dosas and he said it was a wonderful machine. He said they would love to have one in their palace and the Duchess said that because you can also use it to make pancakes the whole of London will want one."

Next, Prince William was invited to try out Mahindra Formula E racing car, an example of UK-India technology collaboration. When asked to drive, he wasn't hesitant to remind everyone that he's a pilot and managed a lap time of 2 minutes and 6 seconds in the car simulator (according to People). Isaias Sousa Valero of Mahindra racing reportedly said, "It's a good lap time. He is a really nice driver and he could come and drive for us anytime with a bit more training."

The Duke and Duchess also tried out a few letters on a Braille learning machine designed by Sanskriti Dawle, co-founder of Project Mudra and a winner of Tech Rocketship Awards. Blindfolded, they spelled out son George's name using the innovative Braille learning machine. They also met Chris Sheldrick, Founder of What3Words, who partner with Indian social enterprise Pollinate to bring lighting to less privileged areas in Indian cities.

Ritu Kochar

Former Staff, Entrepreneur India

Ritu used to work as a Feature writer for Entrepreneur India.
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